The last major version of Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) was v14 which came as part of Exchange 2010 (EAS v14.1 came with Exchange 2010 SP1). Almost 6 years after it is now time for an update to EAS and the release of a new version, v16.
At the time of writing this tip, it is unclear if EAS v16 will be part of Exchange 2016... Like with other features, Microsoft will be releasing it first to Office 365 and then eventually enable it in the on-premises Exchange 2016 builds...
This new version of EAS is planned to contain three new major capabilities:
- Improved calendar reliability by reworking the calendar workflow. This will most likely go unnoticed by most end users but will, hopefully, help with those appointment nightmares some Exchange admins experience with 3rd-party mail clients;
- Calendar attachments. While currently calendar items synchronized with EAS cannot include attachments such as agendas, presentations or spreadsheets, in version 16 these will also sync;
- The drafts folder cannot be synced with the current version of EAS, but it will be in EAS v16. This means we can start composing an email on our EAS device and continue editing it on our desktop, for example, or vice-versa.
To check which ActiveSync protocol versions your Exchange Online mailbox supports, go to https://testconnectivity.microsoft.com and run the Exchange ActiveSync test from the Office 365 tab. From the test’s output, look for MS-ASProtocolVersions:
Like with previous EAS version changes, v16 will require the client to support it. It seems that iOS 9 will at least support the calendar features when it is released this fall.
As always, please note that the information provided here might change when EAS v16 is released.